Decoding The Difference Between Telehealth and Telemedicine 

Written By Fam Staff
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Adnan Maqsood


Family Urgent Care is one of the fastest-growing providers of urgent medical care and telehealth. We have 3 locations in the heart of Chicago and Schererville. No appointments are required, and most clinics are open seven days a week, to treat non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
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Are you caught in the web of telehealth vs telemedicine dilemma? If you are confused about whether to opt for a telemedicine or telehealth appointment, rest assured, as both terms have a fine line difference between one another. Both involve using digital technology to ensure easy access to healthcare professionals.

While telehealth and telemedicine are used interchangeably, the terms are slightly different from one another.

This blog aims to walk you through the telehealth and telemedicine terminologies and help you understand the difference through scenario-based examples. Further, we’ll also explore the benefits of both digital health services separately.

So, keep scrolling to enhance your understanding of the evolving landscape of telehealth and telemedicine.

Telehealth vs Telemedicine: Definition in Simple Words

In easy terms, telehealth refers to using different communication technologies to deliver remote healthcare services. It covers various non-clinical and clinical services, including health education to patients, healthcare providers training, and health administrative meetings. As defined by WHO, telehealth means monitoring, health promotion, and public health duties.

On the flip side, telemedicine specifically refers to the delivery of online clinical services only. When your virtual healthcare provider diagnoses, educates, and monitors your health condition, that’s telemedicine. The Federation of State Medical Boards describes telemedicine as the practice of medicine using digital technology between a physician and a patient from different locations.

In basic terms, telemedicine comes under the umbrella of telehealth, whereas telehealth is a broader term used for multiple clinical and non-clinical services.

What Are The Key Differences Between Telehealth and Telemedicine?

After reading this, you will have more clarity between the two terms. So, let’s settle the telemedicine vs telehealth dilemma once and for all.

The most prominent difference between telehealth and telemedicine is that telehealth covers various virtual healthcare aspects, such as health apps, video consultation, remote monitoring and overall patient care. On the other hand, telemedicine is a direct interaction between patient and provider focused on diagnosis, treatment and consultation.

For instance, if you have an online consultation with your doctor to track your overall health, that’s telehealth. When your doctor gives you a diagnosis and explains the therapy during that call, that’s telemedicine.

Simply put, telehealth is a broader picture of online healthcare services, whereas telemedicine is a focused, patient-centric part of that frame.

Scenario-based Example of Telehealth and Telemedicine To Help You Understand Better

Let’s say you’re suffering from a chronic condition, like diabetes and want to manage your condition from the comfort of your screen. Telehealth includes the entire spectrum of virtual healthcare tools you use to manage your diabetes. This might involve using a health app to monitor your blood sugar levels, receiving medication reminders, and even attending educational webinars on diabetes management.

Now, imagine you want to consult your endocrinologist about your recent blood sugar results. Therefore, you end up booking a virtual appointment with your doctor. In this scenario, you’re directly engaging in telemedicine. The video consultation between you and your provider becomes a focused, real-time interaction for diagnosing, adjusting your treatment plan, and addressing your concerns personally.

So, telehealth covers your day-to-day virtual interaction with digital technology, whereas telemedicine, on the other hand, steps in when you need virtual face time with your healthcare provider to address your condition or medications.

Some More Telehealth Vs Telemedicine Examples

To further illustrate, here are some examples that would come under telemedicine vs telehealth.

Telemedicine Examples

  • Medication refills from a virtual online visit
  • Monthly virtual consultation to manage your condition
  • Mental health counseling
  • Urgent care appointment for cold, flu, headache or sinus infections
  • Virtual monitoring of your health

Telehealth Examples

Telehealth includes all the examples of telemedicine mentioned above, including the ones below.

  • Attending educational webinars to manage your health condition
  • Healthcare provider training or lectures on continuing medical education
  • Healthcare providers send patient notes and lab reports to another provider
  • Using health apps on mobile phones to connect with providers

When Should You Choose Telemedicine Instead Of Telehealth?

When you need to interact with your healthcare provider directly regarding your clinical condition, such as diabetes, you’ll use telemedicine. Telemedicine also includes getting a diagnosis, discussing your treatment plan, refilling your prescription or talking to a therapist about a mental health issue.

So, if you have a specific health problem that needs a doctor’s attention, telemedicine is the way to go! You can easily book a telemedicine appointment with your doctor without leaving your house.

However, you will utilize telehealth services for non-clinical services like health counseling or remote monitoring.

Also, remember that if you have emergency symptoms such as persistent vomiting, diarrhea or shortness of breath, you should visit the nearest emergency hospital to your home rather than waiting to meet your doctor virtually.

Explore Four Types Of Telehealth For Personalized Medical Attention

To understand more about telehealth services, let’s uncover the four different types of telehealth you can use while managing your health condition. Your healthcare provider can deliver telehealth or telemedicine service in the following ways.

Live video conferencing with healthcare specialist:

This includes direct video consultation about your disease condition with your healthcare provider

Store and Forward:

This does not involve direct virtual interaction with your health provider. It includes sharing your health data via chat, such as medical history, glucose levels, blood pressure, or oxygen readings. The exchange of health data can be done between providers as well.

Remote monitoring of your health condition:

Your health provider monitors your condition outside the traditional care setting using digital technology, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.

Mobile Health:

When you deliver or access health information over phones and tablets through telehealth platforms.

What are the distinct benefits of telehealth vs telemedicine?

From eliminating distance barriers to personalized attention from your health specialist, telehealth and telemedicine are the cornerstones of the transformative healthcare experience.

Telehealth Benefits

Let’s explore some real-time benefits you can enjoy by exploring telehealth services.

Immediate Accessibility:

There is no need to wait for long hours as you overcome geographical barriers and connect to a specialist within hours via telehealth

Enhanced Knowledge:

You can manage your condition seamlessly by increasing your disease knowledge through educational webinars.

Cost Effective:

Telehealth is a cost-effective solution that reduces travel costs and saves time.

Enhances Patient Engagement:

Telehealth empowers patients with self-monitoring tools, active participation, and virtual healthcare-provider interactions.

Holistic Health:

Telehealth integrates mental health support, nutritional guidance, and lifestyle management into virtual healthcare services.

Telemedicine Benefits

Timely Care:

You can book same-day telemedicine appointments and receive prompt medical attention for urgent situations.

Schedule Follow-Ups:

Telemedicine enables consistent follow-ups with your provider and timely monitoring for chronic conditions without frequent in-person visits.

Allow Prescription Refills:

Telemedicine facilitates the convenient renewal of prescriptions, allowing patients to request medication refills through virtual consultations with healthcare providers.

Specialized Services:

Connect with board-certified specialists for specialty services, including cardiology, endocrinology, dermatology, etc.

How Family Urgent Care Can Help You?

With Family Urgent Care, you can book same-day telemedicine appointments and get primary or urgent care with our top-notch medical experts. Whether you’ve insurance or not, you can easily connect with doctors whenever you need medical attention.

At Family Urgent Care, we consider your health more than just a service; it’s our sacred priority. We go an extra mile to ensure that your well-being is not just met but exceeded.

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